WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston) released the following statement in response to the announcement that the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) has approved enhanced death benefits for the families of eligible C.I.A. employees and contractors who have been killed in the line of duty overseas since 1983, including the family of former Navy SEAL and C.I.A. security contractor Glen Doherty. Mr. Doherty was killed during the September 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Congressman Lynch has long advocated that the family of Glen Doherty receive full death benefits.
“Losing a son or brother in war is the most painful sacrifice that can be made by an American family. Families of American heroes should not also have to fight through a bureaucratic process to receive those benefits that such heroism has earned. Barbara Doherty, Kate Quigley, and the entire Doherty family have waited more than three and a half years to receive the protections and benefits that their son, Glen Doherty, intended them to receive in the event of his death in the line of duty and in the service of our country. I thank the Doherty’s for their strength, patience, and grace throughout this process and I commend them for their perseverance on behalf of other affected C.I.A. families,” said Congressman Lynch.
“I appreciate the cooperation and compassion of my congressional colleagues and committees of jurisdiction in addressing the inequities in the law. Through the hard work of the Doherty family, Amy Carnevale and her team at the law firm K&L Gates, and some of my colleagues in Congress who worked diligently behind the scenes negotiating this administrative solution, it is my hope that other families will not have to go through the arduous process the Doherty’s faced. I will continue to advocate for passage of the Glen Anthony Doherty Overseas Security Personnel Fairness Act in order to ensure that all families of contractors without dependents do not face a similar difficult benefits situation in the future,” Congressman Lynch added.
Glen Doherty was killed in September of 2012 while defending the classified annex near the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi against a terrorist attack that also resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, former Navy SEAL and C.I.A. contractor Tyrone Woods, and U.S. State Department officer Sean Smith. While Mr. Doherty was unmarried with no children or other dependents, he activated his mandatory Defense Base Act insurance policy before deploying for a scheduled 54-day mission to Libya beginning on September 7, 2012 with the reasonable belief that his policy would pay benefits to his estate or next of kin in the event of his death.
Congressman Lynch first introduced H.R. 312, the Glen Anthony Doherty Overseas Security Personnel Fairness Act, in November of 2014. The legislation would remove a significant penalty in federal law that currently prohibits the families of overseas contractors who are killed in the line of duty from receiving full death benefits if the deceased employee is unmarried with no children or other dependents. The families of overseas federal contractors, including the family of Mr. Doherty, have faced significant difficulty in receiving death benefits under federally-required insurance policies when their loved one is killed on the job, but is single with no dependents.
The Defense Base Act of 1941 requires that overseas federal contractors obtain so-called Defense Base Act insurance in order to make certain that injured workers are entitled to workers’ compensation for employment-related injuries and their survivors are entitled to death benefits in the event of a job-related tragedy. Regrettably, current law does not extend death benefits, aside from $3,000 in funeral expenses, to the family or designated beneficiary of a federal contractor who is killed in the line of duty overseas, but is unmarried with no dependents. H.R. 312 would therefore amend the Defense Base Act to ensure that full death benefits are extended to the families or designated beneficiaries of these federal contractors who have died in service to our country as a result of a war-risk hazard or an act of terrorism.